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Cynthia Lee Wong Selected as Second Annual New Voices Composer

(July 2013)

Michael Tilson Thomas, Boosey & Hawkes, New World Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony Continue Initiative with Emerging Composers

This June, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, Boosey & Hawkes, the New World Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony announced New York-based composer Cynthia Lee Wong as the second annual New Voices composer. A recipient of accolades including three ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and several prizes from The Juilliard School, City University of New York, and Columbia University, Ms. Wong has been recognized by numerous organizations for her artistic accomplishments and creative output. She has studied composition with David Del Tredici, Samuel Adler, Milton Babbitt, David Olan, and Larry Thomas Bell, and is currently on faculty at CUNY’s Baruch College.

New Voices, a partnership between Boosey & Hawkes, the New World Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony, aims to develop the professional careers of emerging composers in the Americas. Each year, one composer is chosen from a selection of invited applicants to participate in a multi-organizational residency that covers areas in career development including, but not limited to, working with a publisher, workshopping new compositions, and premiering their works on both coasts with the New World Symphony and San Francisco Symphony in orchestral and chamber settings. Ms. Wong was selected by a panel of judges consisting of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and composers John Adams, Steven Mackey, and Mason Bates. Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri was the New Voices composer in the project’s inaugural year. Her new work for percussion quartet, Manif, premiered at the New World Symphony in March, and her new work for orchestra, Lineage, premiered at NWS in April. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony will give the West Coast premieres of both works next season.

After receiving hands-on experience at the New York offices of Boosey & Hawkes, Ms. Wong will collaborate with the New World Symphony in the workshopping, rehearsal, and performance of two new works in the 2013–14 season—commissions that make up the performance-related aspect of New Voices. These New Voices commissions consist of one work for chamber ensemble and one work for orchestra, to be premiered by the New World Symphony in November 2013 and April 2014, respectively. The works will then receive their West Coast premieres by the San Francisco Symphony during the 2014–15 season.

"I am especially honored to be chosen as this year's New Voices composer and to have the opportunity to work with such extraordinary musicians as Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony, and the New World Symphony," says Wong. "Compositionally, I look forward to exploring the dramatic potential and timbral variety of mixed chamber ensemble and full symphony orchestra. This is all very inspiring to me, and I hope to contribute meaningfully to the rich tradition of American classical music."

Watch a video interview with Cynthia Lee Wong about this new appointment. (Other video interviews include commentary on her background as a composer and other interests.)

Boosey & Hawkes, a leading international figure in music publishing, offers the selected composer first-hand experience in all aspects of publishing, from material preparation to promotion of the music through a comprehensive residency in New York. Boosey & Hawkes provides support and guidance towards best practices for high-quality score preparation, focusing on the preparation of materials for a premiere, which is paramount to the composer’s professional training and development. In addition, the New Voices composer learns about industry practices, including commission contract preparation, copyright registration and licensing procedures, and how to promote the music through publicity and marketing strategies.

At the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS) co-founded by Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), the New Voices composer works extensively with MTT, NWS Fellows, guest coaches, and others to workshop the new compositions and prepare them for their world premieres at the Academy. MTT will conduct the premiere of the new work for orchestra in April 2014 at the New World Center.

At the San Francisco Symphony, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and members of the orchestra work with the New Voices composer for two full weeks after the works have been workshopped and premiered in Miami. MTT will lead the Orchestra in the West Coast premiere of the newly commissioned orchestral work in a subscription concert at Davies Symphony Hall, and, in a second week with MTT and the SFS, the composer will work with members of the orchestra who will perform the new chamber commission as part of their regular chamber music series. These two works will be performed in San Francisco during the 2014–15 season.

About Cynthia Lee Wong
Born in New York, Cynthia Lee Wong has attracted international acclaim for her "impressive energy and drive" (The Boston Globe), "extravagant variety of sound" (Süddeutsche Zeitung), and "unsettling...dark, eerie...highly individual sound universe" (The San Diego Union-Tribune). Her creative output encompasses a range of genres, including works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance, voice, narrator, musical theatre, and piano improvisation.

Past commissions include Memoriam (2011) for Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Three Portraits (2005) and On Baldness and Other Songs (2007) for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Piano Quartet (2010) for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Music Society, and String Quartet No. 1 (2009) for Tanglewood Music Center. She has also worked with the Tokyo String Quartet, the Orchestra del Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy, New Juilliard Ensemble, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory Orchestra.

Current commissions include compositions for the League of Composers / International Society of Contemporary Music and the New York State Music Teacher's Association. She is also collaborating with librettist Richard Aellen on two musicals: Nemo, an adaptation based on Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and No Guarantees, a romantic comedy set in the future where a secret attempt to use an android as an understudy has unexpected consequences.

Photo: George Kunze

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